Nelson Mandela Foundation

During the Women's March that took place on 09 August 1956 in Pretoria, the women sang "Wathinta abafazi, wathinta i mbokodo,uza kufa!" -  If you strike a woman, you strike a rock and you will be crushed. The Mbokodo narrative is one that defies societal expectations and empowers women to break barriers. It reminds us that women are not confined to traditional gender roles, but rather have the potential to be leaders in their communities, in business, and in every aspect of life.

In our society, women still take on a variety of duties, including those of wife, partner, provider, parent, and teacher. We play these roles while being fearless, compassionate, and strong. All of this to say, we are human.

The message Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, Rahima Moosa and the other 20000 women were trying to get across through their chants was not that women aren't just delicate but also capable.

In my opinion, a woman who is described as "Mbokodo" is someone who fights until the end and never backs down, regardless of the circumstances. It is not every woman’s calling to imbokodo. It should not be that if you fail to meet this definition in your life you are deemed weak. I wish society could see that it is possible to be delicate and still be imbokodo. It should not be that women should destroy themselves trying to earn the badge ‘Mbokodo’.

Society should motivate young girls to strive for the stars and consider themselves as "Mbokodos" by being determined, intellectual, defying expectations, and breaking barriers without excluding the tenderness and vulnerability that makes them human.